#Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, 90 miles from Kabul, is the first provincial capital to fall to the #Taliban todau [15 AUG], and the 23rd overall.
US calling on USAID to destroy documents and get out
It was at about 8 AM British time that it became clear it was all over
Taliban claims Ismail Khan has joined then, which would explain why they let him go after Herat was captured
At 9 AM, the Taliban put out a statement saying they were at the gates of Kabul and were waiting for the "transition" process before they entered
About an hour ago, 10:30 AM UK time, it was reported President Ghani would be handing over to the Taliban in the capital
Despite assurances that the Taliban were going to wait on the edge of Kabul for a formal handover/surrender from the government, the jihadists seem to have attacked the city
#Bamiyan, capital of the eponymous province, has been taken by the #Taliban, which will be the 24th provincial capital they have taken ... if you don't count the capital itself.
The #Taliban have begun breaking open the prisons in Kabul
Between Pul-i-Chakri and Bagram, all of the #ISKP guys are free, basically
#Taliban saying it will let foreigners leave without attacking flights from Kabul, and if you can't trust their assurances who can you trust?
Another feature of Taliban life that is already returning
Anyone who can get out of Kabul is leaving
Already the Talibanized life is returning to the capital
Journalists present confirm a Taliban presence right in the heart of Kabul
Visual confirmation of the Taliban in the centre of Kabul
Surreal situation to be in at this moment
Just days ago: the Biden people were lying/deluded right to the end
Report from a Tajik outlet that #Afghanistan's President @ashrafghani has arrived in Tajikistan on his way to a third country asiaplustj.info/tj/news/world/…
Increasingly looks like President Ghani has left #Afghanistan, for what will surely be the last time.
The #Taliban is moving into Kabul, seizing #Afghanistan's capital under the pretext of moving to stop "looting", after saying they were negotiating a handover.
Confirmation: #Afghanistan's legal government has fallen.
Britain should not be joining in with this messaging fiasco the Biden people have presided over, in addition to their grotesque policy. It is simply insulting to Afghans to say things like this after we just handed them over to the Taliban for no reason
One gets to "expect" a lot of things when one has all the guns
In case anyone was in any doubt >> #Taliban says there will be no transitional or unity government; it intends to forcibly seize total power, which is what they have been saying for twenty years, despite the "peace process" nonsense of the last 18 months reuters.com/world/asia-pac…
Find myself in the unusual position of defending the CIA here: the #Afghanistan disaster is not - in any shape, form, or fashion - an "intelligence issue". What was about to happen was entirely obvious to anyone who cared to see it.
Maybe 2,000 #IS/#ISKP jihadists have been freed by the #Taliban conquest of Kabul.

Note: that was 2,000 when they went *in*; we have no idea how many they recruited, who are also now free.
Incidentally, this is another thing some were warning about months ago:

"#ISKP is also betting on the #Taliban quickly overrunning the country and freeing all prisoners, regardless of affiliation, in the chaos, amplifying its own attacks." aspistrategist.org.au/afghanistan-wi…
No, again, this not an intel issue: this is a pathetic attempt to blame-shift by the administration. That the peace process was a fabrication to cover unconditional withdrawal was obvious from Day One, and the Taliban never pretended not to be the Taliban
It didn't take secret intelligence assessments to see any of this coming in Afghanistan. Serious people had disagreements over the timeline and exactly how the collapse would occur and who would grab what pieces between Pakistan and Iran. But this is solely a political issue.
#Biden's failure on #Afghanistan went right down to the smallest details
About 8 PM British time, the #Taliban held a press conference in the Presidential Palace in Kabul, broadcast live on Al-Jazeera, of course.
#Biden gave the #Taliban/#Qaeda forces Afghanistan without even making them give back the American hostages they hold.
Even now, after the end, the resolution to be irresolute of the #Biden administration in #Afghanistan is staggering.
May God help them, because apparently nobody else will
No sense of urgency from the Biden administration even now.
Ryan Crocker, not exactly a Fox News pundit: "I'm left with some grave questions ... about [#Biden's] ability to lead our nation as commander-in-chief. To have read this so wrong - or, even worse, to have understood what was likely to happen and not care."
The White House spokesman being unavailable for a week as a protectorate collapses into the hands of jihadists and Americans scramble for the airport is not a thing
Again, every aspect from #Biden is a total fiasco. Now it's "outing" the CIA staff in Doha; special prosecutors have been appointed for less (literally: we went through the whole Valerie Plame episode finding neither crime nor victim).
The public assessments are enough to dispense with this "intelligence failure" silliness, a crude effort in blame-shifting. The Biden people made a deliberate policy decision, knowing what would happen, and bet on a longer "decent interval" than existed.
Reports that the #Biden administration has reversed itself and is now going to take tens of thousands of Afghans who assisted NATO and are now threatened by the #Taliban out of #Afghanistan, including to bases in the US itself.

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More from @KyleWOrton

15 Sep
In Sept. 1971, the KGB's Oleg Lyalin defected from the London Embassy and told the British government about the really alarming (and some quite bizarre) "special actions" the Soviets had been planning on the West, precipitating the mass expulsion Soviet spies in Operation FOOT.
The interesting thing is that this meant the West was quite well aware, from near the beginning of Andropov's renewed campaign, that Soviet terrorism was a very real phenomenon, and yet down to the end most in the West considered it a "conspiracy theory"
The KGB recruitment of Wadi Haddad of the PFLP in 1970 was the turning point: his Palestinian group was given weapons that even Eastern Bloc states hadn't received and given tasks as various as kidnapping CIA officers and assassinating Soviet defectors.
Read 7 tweets
15 Sep
#Pakistan's claim to be a victim of terrorism rests on groups like #TTP ("Pakistani Taliban"), but it was the Army/ISI who created the jihadist emirate in North Waziristan where this group was formed, with the active and ongoing assistance of the ISI's loyal Haqqani Network. ImageImage
#pt: "The Foutainhead of Jihad", pp. 164-5.
The #Haqqani-run enclave in North Waziristan, operating with the full backing of #Pakistan's ISI, not only nurtured the #TTP the Pakistanis would later portray as a mortal foe, it of course supported the "Afghan" #Taliban and was where #Al_Qaeda organised many post-9/11 plots. ImageImage
Read 9 tweets
14 Sep
#IS established itself in "Af-Pak" by building off the Afghan Salafist community that took root in eastern areas via the Arab presence there beginning many decades ago. The Salafis had some second thoughts, but the #Taliban is now pressuring them, too. trtworld.com/opinion/the-dy…
#pt: The Taliban made an approach to IS-Centre in 2015 to ask that ISKP not be used to open another jihadist front, since this would distract from the war with the West. No dice. IS didn't even bother to reply.
#pt: The original Pakistani, mostly TTP, leadership of #ISKP was killed off quite quickly and replaced with Afghan Salafis. The current leader, though, Dr. Shahab al-Muhajir, seems to be a former Haqqani Network operative, and has peeled away other parts of that network.
Read 4 tweets
13 Sep
The lengths the #KGB went to in trying to destroy #Solzhenitsyn even after he had been expelled from the Soviet Union are extraordinary, and not entirely irrational: they understood the danger he posed to them.

<Mini thread drawn from "The Sword and the Shield", pp. 312, 317-21>
Andropov first tried to expel Solzhenitsyn in autumn 1971, but Brezhnev listened to interior minister Nikolai Shchelokov, who said the great writer should be co-opted rather than persecuted. Andropov did not forget this, and later witch-hunted Shchelokov until he killed himself.
In late 1973, after Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov wrote an open letter that encouraged Congress to override the Nixon-Kissinger administration by passing Jackson-Vanik that linked Soviet trade privileges to human rights, Brezhnev said the KGB should have cracked down from the start.
Read 9 tweets
9 Sep
#Pakistan's ruler from 1999 to 2008, General Pervez Musharraf, wrote in his memoir: "It is true that we had assisted in the rise of the #Taliban after the Soviet Union withdrew from #Afghanistan" (p. 202). Image
Even after #Pakistan's General Musharraf disparages the "obscurantist" nature of the #Taliban and the "peace of the graveyard" they brought, he writes: "Nevertheless, we still supported them, for geostrategic reasons", to minimise Indian influence in #Afghanistan (p. 203).
Musharraf tries to create a narrative where #Pakistan was not engaged with the #Taliban at inception, even though the Saudis and UAE were (p. 201-11), which is absurd, and that the ISI had lost its "leverage" over the Taliban after it came to power (pp. 203, 209), equally absurd.
Read 9 tweets
5 Sep
"Though Mr. Biden reversed other Trump policies, he was inclined to go through with the Afghan [withdrawal] ... The military argued for keeping 2,500 troops ... Bagram air base was central to the military's plans" for drones and special forces. wsj.com/articles/insid…
On 8 May, "The Pentagon wanted a discussion on an emergency evacuation of the embassy and how to plan to remove Afghans at risk, but White House officials asked that those issues be removed from the agenda"

Again, Biden cannot say he didn't know. Biden chose to leave the Afghans
Even Jake Sullivan thought closing Bagram Airbase was a bad idea, and in June there was a pause for four days. But Biden insisted on doing all this with 650 troops in Kabul, so the Pentagon could only protect either Bagram or HKIA, and Biden went with the latter.
Read 7 tweets

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